This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of March, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 3 March 2020
Author: Alain Mondino. At the time of the post, he was the head of the far-right National Rally list in municipal elections in the Paris suburb of Villepinte
Media outlet: VKontakte
Title of the video: “Coronavirus for goyim”
Description of the antisemitic content: Alain Mondino, head of the far-right National Rally list in municipal elections in the Paris suburb of Villepinte, shared an antisemitic conspiracy theory video on his account on VKontakte, a Russian social network. The video, titled “Coronavirus for goyim”, claims that the Coronavirus was "developed by the Jews'' in order to "establish their supremacy". “Goyim” is an Yiddish pejorative term to refer to someone who is not Jewish. This word has been adopted by antisemites to highlight what they think is a hostile behavior Jewish people have against non-Jews. The video shared by Mondino claims that Jewish people plotted to spread a disease tailored to infect all continents, in order to ensure their hegemonic power. First shared on VKontakte, the video was also posted on Facebook and Twitter. When his sharing of the video was picked up by the newspaper Le Parisien, Mondino deleted it from his account and claimed that he “found the title so stupid that I clicked,". He explained that he "did not share" but "simply liked" the video because “it is an aberration” that made him laugh without even watching the video. After a few days, the National Rally spokesperson announced the withdrawal of the party backing Mondino because they “have no common values” and he had “broken the rules”.
Myth Debunked: In times of an epidemic or a pandemic, rumors and fake news rapidly spread, especially with the help of instant sharing on social media. The search for the “the real origin of the virus”, and for someone to blame, leads to the flourishing of conspiracy theories. For centuries, Jewish people have been accused of plotting the destruction of the world out of their hatred against non-Jews, and to establish power. During the Black Death in the 14th century, the myth that Jews poisoned wells in order to cause illness or death was widely disseminated, and although there was no evidence to support this accusation, it led to wide-scale persecutions. The allegation that Jewish people developed the coronavirus to establish hegemonic power is a new iteration of the century-old well poisoner myth. It functions by exploiting the culture of fear, grief and anger that can develop during times of crisis, deflecting attention away from scientific evidence, and government accountability.
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